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Inside TED’s radically experimental virtual conferences — Quartz


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Last month, TED introduced a crazy-sounding premise: an eight-week-long conference in your living room. With the coronavirus pandemic unabating, organizers scrambled to design a viable alternative to its big annual conference usually held in Vancouver, Canada. The new agenda looks something like this:

Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays: A series of 45-minute live interviews, talks, and debates tackling the range of upheavals from Covid-19.

Thursday: A 75-minute virtual session of speakers and performances—”a beautiful alternative to your evening-binge viewing,” TED says.

Fridays: A choose-your-own adventure program where one can join a speaker Q&A, a workshop, an “idea speed dating” session with a fellow attendee. TED will convene a virtual classroom for kids and homeschoolers.

“The goal is to find this rhythm that we can accommodate in the weird lives that we’re leading right now,” explained TED curator Chris Anderson. “[The idea is] to build up this little weekly routine…where we have a little bit of each other and have TED kind of every day, not too much, just enough to feel great.”


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